259 – “Anxiety is a desire for what one dreads.”

We are bringing it way back this quote Thursday to a 19th century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. And Mama’s Daily Dose is… a quote from Kierkegaard, “Anxiety is a desire for what one dreads.” Let’s get moving before we get interrupted.


This is such an interesting definition of anxiety, because you wouldn’t think that a definition of anxiety would include the word “desire.” But what Kierkegaard says is, “anxiety is a desire for what one dreads.” And the reason it is a desire is because anxiety gives us this illusion of control.


I think it is important to point out the difference between fear and anxiety in this definition, where fear is a real emotional reaction to a specific real danger. Whereas anxiety is a feeling of worry or nervousness, usually about something that is imminent or has an uncertain outcome. So basically, let’s think of a lion. A fear would be you are on a safari in Africa, and you come face to face with a lion, you are scared. And there is some immediate response that, you either lay down and play dead or you run away. Whereas anxiety would be sitting, watching National Geographic, and a lion comes on the screen, and you start becoming anxious because you think about maybe one day I’m going to go on a safari in Africa and come face to face with a lion, what is going to happen? Where fear is kind of something that we just deal with it is right there, in the present moment. Anxiety gives us this sense of control, anticipate what’s going to happen that we can complete the unknown.


So our brains don’t like things that are half done. We like things to be complete. And so we can go into anxiety, this desire for the unknown, in order to put all those links together and make it a hole, whether it is a hole that we like, or that we dread, and we are afraid of.


Mama, your action today is to sit with the unknown. Let’s not fill that circle completely today. Because in life, there are unknowns. We have a desire to fill that to get rid of the anxiety, which actually then causes more anxiety. I mean, that’s crazy, right? But there are always going to be unknowns in life. And I want you to pick one and sit with that today. And just let it be unknown. I don’t know how it’s gonna go. I don’t know how it’s going to happen. And I am releasing control of that. Because remember, with anxiety comes a sense of control, even if just fleeting for a moment. And if you don’t already please give me a follow on Instagram @MeghanQBarrett and have a great day free of mama guilt because you deserve it.

Rather listen than read? Listen to the podcast here:

Mama’s Daily Dose

Meghan Q Barrett is Mom Success Coach and Connector who helps mamas create a life they love as “mom” AND an individual without the mom guilt. She connects mamas from all around the world so you can share your stories in a safe, supportive space.

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